CHENNAI: An acute shortage of petrol and diesel has hit three districts of Tamil Nadu with nearly 1,000 bunks going dry, a petroleum dealer said Monday. Officials of oil companies were not available for comments while people suffered.
"Our understanding is that the Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd. (CPCL) is not refining the required quantities of crude and hence the shortage," said M. Kannan, president of Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association.
Kannan said there was a shortage of Euro IV compliant petrol used in Chennai and parts of districts like Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram.
Concurring with him, an official of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd. (HPCL), preferring anonymity, told IANS: "There is untimely shut-down of the CPCL refinery and hence the fuel crisis in our bunks."
However, denying any shut-down in its refinery, an official of the CPCL told IANS: "Our refinery is working in full capacity and there is no shut-down or reduction of our refining activity."
He said supplies to oil marketing companies like HPCL and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd. (BPCL) were dealt with by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), the parent company.
According to IOCL, a detailed media statement on the issue would be released.
People whose vehicles ran out of petrol or diesel were seen carrying empty bottles and walking from bunk to bunk in search of fuel in the three districts.
"All the bunks in this area have said they do not have stocks. I have been going from one bunk after another," fumed A. Ravi, an auto-rickshaw driver.
"The companies have increased the petrol prices. They know the demand situation. It is a wonder why they allowed the bunks of all the three oil marketing companies to go dry," R. Raghunathan, working in a private sector company, said to IANS.
"People fault us and fight with us as if we are hoarding fuel. The companies are not coming out with proper answers," Kannan said.
According to him, the union petroleum and natural gas minister should look into the issues and find out why such a situation was allowed to develop.